by Adam McIntyre/Marc Dettman
(Rockford, Michigan – November 19, 2016) If you dream of challenging world cup style conditions, from mud to snow and ice, on a course demanding both technical skill and power, your ‘cross dreams came true at 2016 Michigan Cyclocross State Championship presented by Advantage Benefits Group.
Returning for its second year at the Art Van Sports Complex in Rockford, Michigan, minutes north of downtown Grand Rapids, this year’s event drew Michigan cyclocrossers, vying for their State Championships, along with competitors from across the Midwest and even as far as Iowa.
Burke Attacks on the Climb and Wins the Elite Men’s Championship
While the days leading up to the race were balmy, just like the Gordon Lightfoot song about the ill-fated Lake Superior freighter, “The Skies of November Turned Gloomy” and temperatures on race day slid into the 30’s while 30 mph winds and the arrival of the year’s first heavy snow added another dimension to an already challenging course.
Men’s Elite Champion Tom Burke (Giant Bicycles p/b CHG inc. & Zingerman’s), probably said it best, “It’s like we got an entire season worth of weather in one race.”
Heavy snow and wind whipped the Men’s Elite Championship from the gun. Eventual winner, Tom Burke of Grand Rapids, Michigan, struggled with a poor start and came out of the first technical section faced with a sizable chase back to the leaders. It took little time for Burke to power his way over a snow-covered technical section and rejoin the leading pack. After recovering from his chase, Burke attacked the leaders, on a long, watt-devouring climb. It was the move that turned out to be a winner.
“The Michigan State ‘Cross Championship has been a victory I have chased for many years,” said Burke. “While I have proved myself as one of the top ‘crossers in Michigan for a number of seasons, the title has always eluded me. This year was my year and all the failures of the past make it all that much sweeter.”
Burke was followed to the line by James Cochran (Atlas/Other Films Cycling) of Iowa. The state silver medal was snapped up by Tim Sarri of Rochester Hills, MI, finishing third overall in the Elite race. Michigan’s bronze honors went to Daniel Yankus (OAM Now/Athletic Mentors).
Melissa Seymour Take the Elite Women’s Championship
By the time the Women’s Championship toed the line, the continuing snow and a deteriorating course had reached that cross-classic “it’s not if you crash, it’s when,” point.
Adrienne O’Day (Rescue Project), Michigan’s 2015 Elite Women’s champion, saw her chances for a repeat championship literally slip away on the first, steep off camber section. Melissa Seymour (Team O2) used her technical skills and power, over the same section to take an early lead. Seymour was soon joined by Valerie Hyrman (Hagerty Cycling Team), while the field behind struggled with crash after crash in an attempt to claw their way back to the leaders. Up front Seymour and Hyrman weren’t content to play it safe. The two traded attacks over a course that left absolutely no room for error, but in the end, Seymour, applied a steady dose of power, along with her outstanding and technical skill to open a decisive gap and take the win with no one else in the picture.
“After having a mechanical last year, I came into this race seeking redemption with confidence knowing the course and conditions would favor my strengths,” said Seymour. “The course had several power sections which are great for me, and after Jingle Cross, I felt I would have an advantage in the mud and snow. I knew I needed to be in the lead going into the first technical area and used the power sections to gain as much time as possible. Once I had a gap, I rode conservatively through the snowy and slick areas but still put down the power wherever it was safe. I was happy to have a clean race and come away with the win!”
Valerie Hyrman held on to the Silver, while the Bronze was collected by a hard charging Erin Robertson (Wolverine Sports Club).
2016 Michigan Cyclocross State Championship Results – brief
|2||2||VALERIE HYRMAN||00:44:37||TRAVERSE CITY||29|
|1||53||TOM BURKE||00:56:25||GRAND RAPIDS||37|
|3||71||TIM SAARI||00:57:25||ROCHESTER HILLS||42|